Thursday, July 04, 2013

New Blog URL

Well, I did it. I started a new blog over on WordPress.com. I still feel like this is a bit experimental. I'm so used to blogging here at Blogger, and ya know, change is hard.

Here's the new URL: http://jamehring.wordpress.com

If you have the blog delivered via email, you'll have to re-subscribe to the new one. 

I'd love your feedback!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Moving This Blog -- A Survey

Dear readers, I have pretty much decided I'm moving this blog over to WordPress and I wanted to get some feedback from you before I move it.

I have been blogging on the Blogger platform since 2004, and it's been a great ride. But all of my professional work is over on WordPress, so I know from experience that WordPress is a more robust platform -- and if I continue to grow this blog, I need to be working on a platform that can grow with it.

I won't dump you. I'll make sure there is a link to the new blog right here in a post.

The content will be the same on the new blog. Unless I get my act together and streamline the content like I've been planning to for years. And then I'm hoping it will be better.

I'm also considering implementing a newsletter for those of you who are interested in digging in a little deeper with me. I'm working on creating a few workshops (local and virtual), so look for an invitation to sign up for updates about that over at the new blog.

Blogging Habits

Some of you have expressed interest in knowing how I blog so often when I have a full-time job AND freelance work AND I'm growing a new company.

First, let me tell you once again how important writing is to me. It's how I process everything. The fact that you guys actually read this stuff, well it's a special treat.

Second, I don't limit myself in terms of blog-writing practices. I take each day, one at a time. Here are some common ways I write/post blogs (keeping in mind I use the schedule option on Blogger to make posts to go live when I want them to):

1) Write in the morning before my work day starts
2) Write a little bit throughout the day during breaks and my lunch hour
3) Write the post after the day job ends, and before I start my other work
4) Write posts in advance and schedule them to go live in the future
5) If I'm on the road, I can even email posts to my blog

I don't recommend being willy-nilly like this with a professional or business blog. Consistency rules in those realms. But this isn't a professional blog -- so I throw the rules right out the window. Blogging this way fits with my lifestyle.

But if you need that rigid schedule to write your blog, more power to you. I do love me some scheduling! I swear by Google Calendar for appointments and the Franklin Covey system for my daily tasks, and my professional blogging tasks are ALWAYS on those schedules.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Joy of Nature

I actually started this blog yesterday, but never finished it because we had some surprise guests.

I started taking a walk around the lake every morning before work a couple of weeks ago, and I'm absolutely addicted.

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time volunteering at a nature reserve in south Denver. I worked with the rangers to lead kids' programs, lead bird-watching hikes, teach classes at the nature center, that kind of thing. I thought I was going to be a ranger when I grew up. Most of you know my story about going to college for Environmental Studies, right? If not, read it here. Needless to say, I did not become a ranger when I grew up.

It was during that time in college that I somehow forgot how much I enjoyed nature.

I still went camping and hiking and all of that throughout my adult years -- but that fascination for how the natural world functions was lost.

These recent morning walks have reawakened my appreciation for the glorious machine that is nature. Walking at the same time every morning, I notice the sun as it shifts position in the sky as the season progresses. I have watched with fascination how the ducks and geese take care of their babies, and how the ducklings and goslings grow into adults a little bit more every day. I was stunned at the volume a bullfrog is able to produce as it bellows. I sat at the shore this morning and watched the minnows skitter about in the shallows.

I really believe how I'm feeling about spending time in nature has everything to do with frequency and repetition. Since I'm going to the lake every day, I am noticing how nature changes. It's so different than going on a hike once every few weeks, trying different trails every time. At the lake, I am seeing the same families of ducks every day. I'm hearing the same bullfrog. I'm watching the sun ascend from the same point of view. And everything is changing every day.

It's radical. It's wonderful. And it's changing my heart for the better.

So back to why I didn't post this yesterday. Jeremy's parents came up for a lovely surprise visit. We all went out to dinner, and then I went straight to Bible study from there -- so while I started this post, I didn't finish it until this morning. That's a great reason to miss a day of blogging, in my opinion.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Anniversary Dinner and Tale of Two Cities

We finally had our anniversary dinner last night. We drove into Boulder (during rush hour -- BAD idea) and ate dinner at Jill's Restaurant. It's part of the St. Julien hotel in downtown Boulder, and it is both charming and posh. Their white cheddar truffle mac & cheese is mouth-watering, and their Scottish salmon melted in my mouth. Mmmmm.

Boulder makes me happy. For all it's quirkiness, for all it's crowded roads and funky residents, something about that town makes my heart flutter. Maybe it's the friendliness. You don't encounter many rude people in Boulder.

And the people there are so varied. You have hipsters and hippies, Internet millionaires and people who make their money panhandling, artists and accountants, students and retirees. And you encounter all of these characters wherever you go. The city is not split up into sections, really.

Denver, on the other hand, is very sectioned. And many of those sections are just dirty and nasty, and you couldn't pay me enough to walk through them alone. The types and classes of people don't mingle.

We live smack dab between Denver and Boulder. Pretty much equidistant, as the crow flies. After spending Tuesday evening in Denver and paying $16 for 4 hours of parking, paying $1.75 for 2 hours of parking in Boulder last night was laughable. Boulder is a really wealthy city -- but other than property costs, they don't gauge the public nearly as bad as neighboring Denver does.

Denver is extending their rail system from Union Station downtown to 162nd up in Northglenn/Thornton over the next 10 years. The track they plan to use is just on the western edge of our neighborhood. Jeremy thinks we'll be here to see it happen -- I don't. But if we are still here when there's a train that'll take us into Denver on the cheap, maybe I'll feel differently about that city. But for now, if you ask me to choose between going into Denver and going into Boulder for any particular reason, I'll choose Boulder in a heartbeat.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Holy Cannoli -- Goal Met in 24 Hours

You all are amazing. We hit the Angel Eyes fundraising goal in just a little over 24 hours after I first posted the page here. Admittedly, I just randomly picked an amount -- because like I said, this is more about a memorial for Scarlett than raising funds. But the money you donate helps Angel Eyes put on this event every year, and supports their counseling system (and I can't imagine anyone losing a child and not having access to counseling!!!) and funds their research into this mysterious horror of children dying in their sleep.

I sometimes sit around and theorize with my friend who also lost her first child. We wonder how this could possibly be part of God's plan. She waxes about old souls not needing much more time on this earth before they are able to stay in nirvana/heaven forever. I wonder if sometimes angels are born in human bodies, sent to teach us lessons we could not learn otherwise, and then at the end of their teaching they return home.

But no matter how spiritually or pragmatically you explain the event, losing a child is horrible, it's traumatic, it turns your world upside down and disproves everything you ever believed about how this life works. You are suddenly thrust out of childhood, where the world revolves around you and nothing bad ever really happens, and into adulthood where you are looking death right in the eyes and yelling "I'm not afraid of you!"

I'm not afraid of death. It's merely a gateway between this world and the next. It's a parting of the veil that separates me and my daughter. And while I plan on making the most out of the time I have here, I stopped being afraid of death on February 23, 2012.

That gives a person a level of freedom that most people can't understand. Death holds no sway over me. I used to be afraid I'd get cancer (because it runs in my family). I've ended up in the hospital for some bizarre stuff, and I used to be afraid that the next bizarre situation would take my life. Sometimes even turbulence on an airplane made me fear death. None of that makes me shiver in fear anymore. When my time comes, it comes. I have no say in it. But I do believe I have a say in where I go afterward.

My daughter is in heaven. I have no doubt about that. No one little iota of doubt. And where she is is where I'm going. No matter what I have to do to get there.

The Bible says that you just need to believe in Christ and you are saved. Done deal. It also says that while you might not be rewarded here on this earth for your good works, you will be rewarded in heaven for them. There is only one reward that matters to me. So I'll live a good life, and do what I can to improve things while I'm here, because if I am rewarded by being with my daughter again, it's worth any sacrifice.

I've been told that a lot of people give up when they lose someone they love. I don't know what that looks like, though. I don't know how to give up -- it's not in my nature. So I asked my counselor what she meant when she told me that many people give up in my circumstance. She said that they give in to depression, they walk out of their jobs, abandon their families, start drinking -- there are many ways people give up. I asked Jeremy the same question, and he said, "If I were to give up, I'd be living on the streets." Thank goodness he never gave up.

I guess the point of this whole rambling spiel is Thank you. Thank you for supporting an organization that helps people not give up. Thank you for showing your support for us, and memorializing our daughter. And thank you for never giving up.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Neil Gaiman Signing Event

I need to start this post off with this awesome quote from Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love, because it just made my day. "What we love about other people is a part of us that we haven’t yet discovered." Isn't that just lovely?

Jeremy arranged for his mom and I to go to a Neil Gaiman book signing with him last night. And by "arranged," I mean that two weeks ago he went into downtown Denver at 7am to wait in line for hours to get copies of Gaiman's newest book and tickets to his signing. There were a limited number of tickets, and this is Gaiman's last book tour ever.

Then Jeremy took care of all the timing and logistics of actually getting us to the book signing, which was a feat in and of itself. 

Gaiman did not disappoint. He spoke for about 45 minutes, and read from The Ocean at the End of the Lane for about 15 of those minutes. He was witty and entertaining and I could have listened to him talk all night. We were all cracking up in the audience.

There were a thousand tickets to get books signed -- and we had numbers 161, 162 and 164. So after Gaiman was done talking, we waited for about an hour for our numbers to be called. But we weren't complaining. We'd been warned that his signings could go into the wee hours of the morning. How the man's hand is still functional, I'll never know.

Jeremy was wearing the t-shirt I bought him as an anniversary gift. It is a Walking Dead t-shirt, with "Beware, I bite" on the front -- then you can flip it up in front of your face and there's a zombie face on the inside of the shirt, so it's like a mask. Neil Gaiman complimented Jeremy on the shirt. Jeremy and I were both a little giddy. I almost told Gaiman that there was a zombie mask on the inside of the shirt -- but I wasn't sure if Jeremy was wearing an undershirt. And I'm glad I didn't, because he wasn't. LOL



Janet has some more pictures from the event on her phone, so I may update this post later with those.